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Nations Trust Bank extends partnership with WNPS for 5th consecutive year

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From left to right: Ayura Perera : Personal Assistant, Legal & Secretarial (NTB), Jehan CanagaRetna -General Secretary (WNPS), Spencer Manuelpillai-Vice President (WNPS) , Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne – president (WNPS), Priyantha Talwatte – Director / Chief Executive Officer (NTB), Theja Silva Group Company Secretary/ Head of CSR (NTB), Hemantha Gunetilleke- Deputy Chief Executive Officer (NTB), Sanjaya Senarath- Chief Marketing Officer (NTB), Chintake Yapa – Assistant Vice President – Sustainability (NTB), Harini Udugampola -Senior Manager – Legal Security Documentation (NTB)

Continuing its commitment to environmental stewardship, Nations Trust Bank recently renewed its partnership with the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS). The Bank signed an agreement to become the sole sponsor of WNPS’s publications – ‘LORIS’, ‘Warana/Varanam’ biannual magazines and ‘The Jungle Telegraph’ quarterly newsletter in addition to funding the organization’s Monthly Lecture series.

Commenting on Nations Trust Bank’s efforts to strengthen their relationship with WNPS was Priyantha Talwatte, Director/Chief Executive Officer at Nations Trust Bank. “It is truly an honor and privilege for Nations Trust Bank to be able to continue to support WNPS, one of the oldest societies of its kind in the entire world. Nations Trust Bank is committed to deliver sustainable long-term impact and our choice of partnership with WNPS is an investment of ensuring the Sri Lanka’s fauna, flora and biodiversity is protected for the future generations. Through this partnership, the two renowned publications Loris, Warana/Waranam, and the Nations WNPS monthly lecture series will be able to expand its reach and educate our citizens to become more sensitive and better appreciate Sri Lanka’s unique biodiversity. The goal for both organizations is to collectively build an ecological consciousness and create a better world for generations to come.”

Published by the WNPS for the past 85 years, LORIS, Sri Lanka’s oldest wildlife and conservation journal includes the latest scientific research and environmental understanding to create awareness on species at risk and current conservation efforts to save the country’s biodiversity. The journal also features anecdotal narratives accompanied by photographs of the flora and fauna.

Warana, the magazine first published in Sinhala in 1976, which later added a Tamil counterpart called Varanam, is the country’s first bilingual magazine on nature. The magazine features research conducted by local university students including insightful articles and information on environmental issues and conflicts.

The Nations WNPS monthly lecture series brings together a lineup of environmental experts to share information on topics ranging from plastic pollution and unsustainable fishing practices to the latest endemic bird to the leopards of Wilpattu National Park. The 60-minute lecture and Q&A session aims to educate and encourage the public to take action in various conservation fronts.

Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, President of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society said, “WNPS would like to express our gratitude towards Nations Trust Bank for constantly advocating for our organization, allowing us to continue shaping the wildlife and nature protection agenda of Sri Lanka. Through collaborations such as this longstanding partnership with Nations Trust Bank, we’re able to conduct scientific research and keep the public informed about the importance of wildlife and nature conservation in this country and protect it from further destruction.”

For years, Nations Trust Bank has implemented multiple environmental initiatives to foster biodiversity research and education, reforestation and species conservation and climate change action. The most recent being the ‘Mihikathata Avurudu’ program, where the Bank will plant a sapling across a one-acre land in the Hiyare Rainforest on behalf of every customer who opened a new Current Account, Savings Account or an Investment Plan with the Bank during the week of Avurudu.

Nations Trust Bank PLC is among the top 15 business establishments in Sri Lanka as ranked by Business Today. Stemming from its vision of “helping people and businesses by providing financial services and information to achieve their goals and aspirations in a sustainable way”, the Bank serves a diverse range of customers across both individual and corporate, with an enviable portfolio of banking and financial products and services. Strongly focused on digital empowerment through cutting-edge digital banking technologies, the Bank is a pioneer in many innovative customer centric banking solutions such as extended banking hours, and FriMi – Sri Lanka’s first digital banking experience. Delivering premium value, service and connecting its Card Members to rewarding experiences and opportunities Nations Trust Bank PLC is an issuer and sole acquirer of American Express Cards in Sri Lanka. The Bank operates 96 branches across the country and has an ATM network covering 127 locations and 48 Cash Deposit & Withdrawal Machines, plus more than 3,700 ATMs on the Lanka Pay Network.



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Courtyard by Marriott to debut in Sri Lanka

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Marriott International is set to introduce the Courtyard by Marriott brand to Sri Lanka, this year. The hospitality giant has signed an agreement with Colombo City Centre Partners (Private) Limited, part of the Abans Group, for this 164-key hotel, expected to open in late 2021, – according to Business Traveller India.

Located in the heart of Colombo city adjacent to the Beira Lake, Courtyard by Marriott Colombo will feature 164 modern guest rooms and suites. The rooms will be equipped with functional work area, smart amenities, and high-speed internet access, making it an ideal stay option for business and leisure travellers, the Indian magazine stated.

There will be two dining venues – an all-day dining restaurant serving a combination of western dishes, Asian favourites and a host of local delicacies as well as an adjoining Lobby Lounge decked with a full-service bar and a quick-bites menu.

Other amenities include a 24-hour fitness centre, an outdoor swimming pool and three meeting rooms.

Rajeev Menon, president, Asia Pacific (excluding China), Marriott International said:

“We are delighted to strengthen our Marriott Bonvoy portfolio of hotels in Sri Lanka with today’s signing. The signing underscores our long-term commitment to Sri Lanka as a strategically important market, offering the potential to grow our brands and provide customers with more choices.”

Kiran Andicot, regional vice president – Development, South Asia, Marriott International commented, “We are very pleased to collaborate with Abans Group, who share our vision to offer smart, intuitive service and high-quality accommodation in Sri Lanka.”

Further elaborating on the collaboration, Aban Pestonjee, chairperson of Abans Group said:

“We are happy to have forged this strategic business alliance with Marriott International and are keen to see our relationship grow from strength to strength. We eagerly look forward to the opening of the first Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in Sri Lanka. We are excited to have Marriott International with us at Colombo City Centre.”

 

 

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Virtusa appoints Santosh Thomas as CEO

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Virtusa Corporation, a global provider of digital strategy, digital engineering and IT services and solutions that help clients change and disrupt markets through innovation engineering, yesterday announced the appointment of Santosh Thomas as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Virtusa’s Board of Directors appointed Santosh as successor to the company’s founder, Kris Canekeratne, who announced his transition from the business in May 2021. Santosh joins Virtusa during a time of significant growth and follows the recent appointment of Sander van‘t Noordende to the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Santosh brings more than 20 years of leadership and industry experience to Virtusa. Most recently Santosh served as President of Global Growth Markets at Cognizant where he managed a business with revenues over $4 billion and built multiple billion-dollar businesses in Europe and Asia Pacific in Banking, CommTech and Products & Resources.  In his new role, Santosh will help Virtusa drive growth in key markets and continue to be recognized as an employer of choice.

“On behalf of the entire company and the Board of Directors, I would like to thank Kris for his more than two decades of leadership,” said Sander van‘t Noordende. “I would also like to welcome Santosh who brings a stellar track record of client service, leadership, and proven success. Santosh has the vision and experience to take Virtusa’s deep heritage in digital engineering to new levels of growth.”

 “I am deeply honored to join Virtusa at this exciting time for our employees, clients and partners,” said Santosh Thomas. “I have admired Kris and Virtusa for fostering a culture of innovation and distinguishing itself as a global leader in helping customers tackle their unique digital transformation challenges. Virtusa has a great brand reputation, an impressive roster of strategic partners, and is well positioned for sustained growth.”

“When I founded Virtusa 25 years ago I had a vision to build a global powerhouse in digital engineering services. And we did just that,” said Kris Canekeratne. “I leave with the confidence that the company and its leadership team have never been stronger and its opportunities have never been greater. I welcome Santosh Thomas to the CEO role and wish him the best in his efforts to lead Virtusa through its next phase of growth.”

Also announced yesterday, Denise Warren has joined Virtusa’s Board of Directors and has been appointed Chairperson of its Audit Committee. Ms. Warren recently retired from her position as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of WakeMed Health & Hospitals, and serves on the boards of Brookdale Senior Living, Computer Programs & Systems Inc., and Rockroom Insurance Group. 

 

 

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No double standards please, on govt’s vehicle import ban: CMTA

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Meanwhile, on June 9, The Island published its front page lead story ‘Covid time bonanza: Luxury SUVs for MPs coming after all- LCs opened before Cabinet rescinded its own decision’.

The Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA) has expressed its concerns on the decision the government has taken to import 400 vehicles – including 227 luxury SUVs – to a value of Rs. 3.7 billion through the Bank of Ceylon. The Government reversed its earlier decision to cancel the order, citing the fact that the Letters of Credit (LCs) had been already opened and “as the opening of Letters of Credit meant guaranteed payment, Sri Lanka faced the prospect of being blacklisted if a unilateral decision was taken” as per Minister Keheliya Rambukwella’s explanation to the press.

The CMTA notified the government of the same issues and repercussions on international trade as a result of unilaterally dishonouring 216 LCs of its members that had been opened prior to the import ban in March 2020. Totalling Rs. 5.2 billion, these include a considerable number of vehicles ordered by permit holders such as doctors and government officials who are at the forefront fighting the pandemic, some of whom had already sold their existing vehicle, anticipating their new vehicle to arrive shortly. Is it fair to keep these permit holders on hold indefinitely while new luxury SUVs are imported for MPs during the import ban?

Due to these LCs being dishonoured, a total of more than 14,000 vehicles comprising 10,780 Motorcycles, 2640 trishaws and 537 Cars specifically ordered for Sri Lankan market conditions were prohibited from being imported.

The vehicle import ban imposed last year has taken a toll on vehicle buyers by constricting the market at a time when the need for personal transportation is more acute. To make matters worse, the resulting imbalance of demand vs. supply has caused prices of used vehicles skyrocket within a short time span, and has led to unscrupulous activities at the expense of the consumer, such as odometer tampering.

Speaking on behalf of the CMTA, Chairman Yasendra Amerasinghe said, “Considering the rampant increase of COVID-19 cases at this time, with various potent variants of the virus spreading throughout the island, personal mobility represents the safest option for citizens who have no choice but to travel. The CMTA very much agrees with Minister Rambukwella’s statement that cancellation of confirmed LCs will affect the credibility of our banks and country. We strongly urge the government to apply the same standard to LCs for vehicles for government servants including doctors, and the general public as it has applied for luxury SUVs for MPs. We hope that there would be no double standard.”

Furthermore, the CMTA mentioned that it had been reminding the government of a proposal for Quota that It had submitted in March, at the request of the President’s Secretariat, to which no response had been given. This proposal was based on a minimum volume of vehicle imports for the industry to survive until the import ban is lifted.

Concerns were also raised as to how this purchase had been carried out without an open tender, with queries as to whether it complies with government procurement guidelines.

Founded in 1920, the Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA) is affiliated to the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and is widely accepted as the voice of the Sri Lankan Automotive Industry.

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